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Stakes are high for Melvin Guillard at UFC 136

Guillard closing in on a lightweight title shot

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Justin M. Bowen

Melvin Guillard winds up to hit Shane Roller in their lightweight bout at UFC 132 Saturday, July 2, 2011, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Guillard won by knockout in the second round.

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HOUSTON — Leave it to outspoken UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard to come up with an insightful metaphor to illustrate his current mindset.

Guillard (28-8-2 MMA, 10-4 UFC) says he has a pretty good idea of how his UFC 136 pay-per-view bout with Joe Lauzon (20-6 MMA, 7-3 UFC) will go Saturday at the Toyota Center and what will come after it.

“It’s almost like knowing what the lotto numbers are before the lottery is played so I hit the jackpot,” Guillard said Thursday. “I really feel I’m next in line. I’ll be the world champion soon.”

Guillard is guaranteeing a knockout victory over Lauzon, but his work won’t end until a few hours after the victory. If Guillard’s vision becomes reality, he’ll have to go through the post-fight medical tests and immediately get into position for the UFC 136 main event between Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar.

Guillard hopes watching their lightweight title fight doubles as scouting for his next opponent. Guillard, who is on a five-fight win streak, believes a win over Lauzon should make him the top contender in the division.

It’s a position UFC President Dana White doesn’t necessarily disagree with. When asked who would get the shot at the winner of Edgar vs. Maynard III two weeks ago, Guillard was the first fighter White brought up.

“I’m excited to see him in there with Lauzon,” White said recently. “If he beats Lauzon, it’s going to be interesting to see who we end up putting together to fight for the title next.”

But almost as soon as White hinted at Guillard receiving a title shot, he began discussing the possibility of Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez coming over to the UFC for a unification bout.

A fight between Guillard and Melendez has also been discussed. So Guillard’s theory isn’t bulletproof after all and he might have to fight again before having a chance at the belt.

He said that didn’t bother him. His only prediction was that he would be champion soon and not necessarily right away.

“If I don’t get a title shot this year, I will go undefeated,” Guillard said. “And I’ll put myself in a position that by 2012, I’ll have my title.”

Lauzon is predictably sick of all this talk. He ignored it all until this week when he had more time to surf the Internet in his hotel room.

Lauzon feels overlooked by Guillard and annoyed that he’s spending more energy talking about the future instead of this weekend’s fight.

“Confidence and arrogance is a fine line, but I think he’s over the line,” Lauzon said. “I think he’s being a little arrogant acting like it’s already a done deal.”

But Guillard promises he’s not looking past Lauzon. He said anytime someone accepted a bout against him, they have his full attention.

“I give a lot of respect to him for even taking the fight,” Guillard said. “A lot of guys turned it down. He’s a very dangerous guy and he’s very talented. Does he present any problems to me? Yes, if I allow him too.”

It appears Lauzon could present a trying challenge for Guillard. Lauzon is a submission artist with 16 career wins by the method, including his last three victories.

With seven career losses by submission, it’s the weakest aspect of Guillard’s game. But Guillard said he had improved and left his struggles in the past. After he beats Lauzon, Guillard says, people will start to call him “jiu-jitsu killer”.

“When I’m in there, I’m a powerhouse,” Guillard said. “I’m putting every ounce of muscle I have behind everything I throw. I’m not trying to outpoint a guy. I’m trying to knock a guy out.”

“He’s going to have to have freakin’ Houdini to pull off the submission on me.”

With confidence like that — or arrogance according to Lauzon — it’s no surprise that Guillard sees himself holding the 155-pound belt in the near future.

To Guillard, the only question is “how soon?” Any answer is fine with him.

“I’ll put it like this: If the fans want to see me fight for the title next, I’ll fight for the title,” Guillard said. “If the fans want to see me fight Gilbert Melendez, I’ll fight Gilbert Melendez. Whoever it is, it doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t really think guys are lined up out the door to fight me right now. I think I’m in a good position.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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